Shooting In Harsh Light

Sometimes there is just no getting around shooting in harsh light. As a wedding photographer, I often find myself in the position of having to shoot ceremonies in a wide range of less-than-ideal situations. Somehow, it seems like I’m constantly having to take pictures in the bright high noon sun, which means crazy backlighting.  Or I find myself in the middle of some other type of harsh sunlight. In spite of that, I’m constantly asked how I achieve such soft, glowy images for my customers. If you want to create soft, romantic pictures no matter what type of lighting you’re shooting in, try my key wedding photography tips to help improve your images.

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Tip #1: Shoot in Manual Mode

Your camera in automatic mode can only capture what’s right in front of it. Instead, I swap to manual mode and control my own settings. In harsh light, I use internal light metering and underexpose slightly to get that soft, dreamy look that so many brides are looking for. I even turn on the highlight warning so that highlights blink red when they’re blown out, allowing me a better look at exactly when the photo is properly exposed.

Tip #2: Look for the Right Setting

Open shade, where you get that gorgeous outdoor effect without the brilliant sun streaming down, is an ideal place for getting softer photos that look great in the wedding album. Using a neutral surface, like a concrete path or sand, can also offer a natural reflector to illuminate your subject’s face. Lastly, look for different elements to filter the light such as a tree branch or the edge of a mountain.

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Tip #3: Backlight Properly

Choosing the right angle for backlighting is one of the most important steps in creating soft, beautiful wedding photos. I place the backlight at a 45-degree angle, putting the sun at the back of the subject’s head to help eliminate harsh lighting. This simple strategy can transform wedding pictures and eliminate the spotty lighting that you often get in harsh, outdoor light.

Creating the right atmosphere for wedding pictures can be a challenge, especially when the lighting doesn’t seem to fit your needs. By using the right techniques, however, you can adjust your pictures to create the beautiful effects that brides are looking for. If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who can capture those great effects for your special day, contact me to learn more about what I can accomplish.